LITERATURE IS TURNING JAPANESE

If you haven’t heard Chorus, the LP from Philadelphia-based band Literature, you’re missing out. It’s everything that’s right about pop music. And we’re not the only ones who think so, either; in 2016, Kevin Attics, Nathaniel Cardaci, Seth Whaland, and Chris Schackerman are being sent to Japan to spread the love and wreak some havoc.

ATYPICAL SOUNDS snagged some quality time with Nate and Seth, and found out what they’re looking forward to most.

You’re traveling to Japan next year. How did that happen?

We’re still in the planning stages, but it’s looking like we’ll be there for a week or so. Playing a couple shows in Tokyo & then some in surrounding cities. None of us have ever been so we’re just looking forward to learning more about Japan and eating amazing food and butchering their language.

This came about because this rad label in Japan called Waterslide Records offered to put out [Literature album] Arab Spring on CD. They then also released Chorus on CD. Both have at least once track that the US versions don’t have, to make it a little more special. But yeah, we’ve been working with Kazu from Waterslide for a while now and are very excited to meet him!

While in Japan, is there anything you’d like to hit during your free time? Can I suggest visiting the Moomin Cafe?

You can suggest that! I think you just did. It looks like this place is an anti-loneliness bar? We might visit that place, but we certainly won’t be lonely! We’re planning on having a decent entourage with us on this trip. For instance, Chris Reject from Square of Opposition Records is supposed to join us for the trip. We don’t usually enjoy his company, but perhaps in another country he’ll be more tolerable.

You also have a split 7” with Expert Alterations. How did you get involved with them?

They set up one of the most fun shows we have ever played – Baltimore Popfest! We’ve been close friends with Expert Alterations, Wildhoney, Post Pink and other Baltimore folks ever since we met them there. Why’re Baltimore folks so great? Probably all the Natty Boh

literature-slumberland You toured with Expert Alterations over the summer, as well. Do you have any memories of the tour that stand out to you?

YES! Something amazing happened. The first show of tour was in DC, which we’ve only played once before, and this woman came up after the show and asked if Chorus had a lyric sheet because she’d previously only listened to the record on Spotify. We couldn’t remember if the CD version had a lyric sheet or not so we checked (spoiler: it does!). She then revealed that she’d WRITTEN HER OWN VERSION OF THE LYRICS AS SHE HEARD THEM. She e-mailed them to us. It was a good effort and very endearing, but they were way wrong. It was really fun for us to read her version of the lyrics. It was also a high compliment that she did that, which of course is always nice.

Your live performances are fun to watch, as they tend to be pretty high-energy. Which bands do you think put on the best live performance? 

People can be good at performing in so many different ways. Nate thinks an Austin band performing these days that is really good is Big Bill. Seth loved playing with The Shivers during CMJ in New York last year because Keith (the principal member) is so intense when he plays. And the other two dudes aren’t here while we’re answering these questions so I’ll guess for them. Kevin probably loves The Spook School because they’re just a great pop band and that drummer is so goofy. Chris would perhaps say The Drums because I know he loves them!

Kevin used to write for music publications as a teen. What do you think drew him to do that, when many of your peers were probably drinking under an overpass in their free time?

Kevin was under a different overpass playing covers of Smashing Pumpkins songs. And he definitely didn’t know enough nerdy musicians IRL, that’s why he was writing to/with/for them. He may or may not approve this answer, but I think it’s fairly accurate. 

Your band biography mentions that Kevin, Nate, and Seth have worked at various times to operate a venue in Austin, TX and run small imprint labels before forming Literature in Philadelphia, PA. Can you talk about what goes into those ventures? Also, what prompted the move to Philadelphia?

We’ve all tried to help support the music scene and be supportive of other folks and their creative pursuits. What goes in to that stuff? Time and money and fun! Seth is doing a small vinyl label again called Keeled Scales. Kevin is setting up a lot of shows in Philadelphia, more in the traditional venue scene than in the house venue scene which we were more involved with at the beginning in Austin. 

As for Philly – Nate & Seth are originally from the Lehigh Valley, PA so it was a return to some of our roots. It also allowed us to play in cities other than Austin! As fun as Austin is, there isn’t a whole lot going on within a days drive from there. But from Philadelphia we could easily play NYC & Baltimore & Bethlehem, etc.

Is there anything planned for you between now and Japan?

We’re playing a wedding in January but none of y’all are invited. Hopefully album #3, but that is still in the writing stages.